Developer: MachineGames & Panic Button Games
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Category: First Person, Action & Adventure
Release Date: June 26, 2018 (EU & NA) & June 29, 2018 (EU & NA)
It’s time for a resistance. The “American” way of life is no more. The Nazi forces have taken over, and it is up to you to end this tyranny. The government is no longer on your side, and freedom is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Will you join the fight to save the planet and end Frau Engel’s evil ways, or will you fall to your feet at the sight placed before you?
The Nintendo Switch version of Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus is unlike anything I have ever played before. It’s bold, charming, touching, and everything else in-between. You will feel sorrow, but vengeance will be yours if you continue to fight the good fight. This isn’t a traditional port, as Panic Button even stated that they began work on this version a while back in an interview we had with them. Before I jump into what the Nintendo Switch version has to offer, let’s take a step back and look at the game as a whole.
Wolfenstein II originally launched on October 27th, 2017, for current-generation platforms such as the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. It is the sequel to the 2014 hit Wolfenstein: The New Order. The sequel places the player into the boots of the Nazi killing machine William Joseph “B.J.” Blazkowicz, also known as Terror Billy. The sequel is set five months after the events of The New Order, in which Blazkowicz is attempting to spark a second American Revolution.
The sequel follows the events of the last game, but newcomers to the franchise can easily catch up to the events of the game through the in-game recap video that plays at the start of the game. This recap video was very useful to me as it gave me a sense of what happened during the events of the last game. The New Colossus directly follows the events of the last game, where B.J was critically injured in the aftermath of the final moments of the game.
The player begins Wolfenstein II in a wheelchair, where you must escape the submarine Evas Hammer, whilst shooting down Nazis that have invaded the vessel. The main antagonist, Frau (Irene) Engel, is now a lieutenant general to the Nazi cause. She spends the entirety of the game hunting down B.J because he was behind the murder of her lover. Her main purpose at this point in her life, is to humiliate and assassinate B.J as an act of retribution for her lover and to the rest of the Nazi supporters.
The game is played in a first-person perspective, with most of the levels having multiple objectives that must be completed before moving on. The story is set-up by chapters, each one occurring in multiple locations and with a ton of objectives and collectibles scattered about. Collectibles are easy to come across, but some are worth more than others. Concept art can be found spread-out throughout the levels, which essentially gives players who scatter every nook and cranny a mini art book at their disposal.
Besides collectibles, weapon upgrade points can be also found scarcely throughout the chapters. These points allow players to apply one upgrade to the weapon of their choosing, which could mean adding a larger magazine to your weapon or applying a suppressor. There is also the ability to play Wolfenstein 3D through the game’s arcade, which allows players to play through the older levels on whichever difficulty that they please.
Gameplay is very straightforward and easy to follow. You have your basic walking and sprinting options, with sprints feeling extremely quick and more like movements from DOOM. Using weapons and grenades is very simple to those used to this genre, where down-sight aiming is also a feature for those that want to maintain their accuracy. There is also an option to hold one weapon in each hand, which increases ammunition use while also increasing damage.
Recoil is very heavy for the majority of the weapons available in the game, so I found it more useful just to aim regularly or to even spray freely at times. There is a range of difficulties to choose from within the game’s settings, some being more balanced than others. These range from extremely easy down to extremely difficult.
Missions are generally very balanced, however, there are some that are much harder than others which made me thankful for the ability to swap difficulties at any time. Controls feel very solid, with the character moving where I wanted him to at all times. Shooting is very solid, and my weapons felt like they should be doing the damage that they were causing.
Movements were crisp, and any death I faced was a result of me missing a shot rather than a hiccup on behalf of the game. Enemy types range from standard Nazi soldiers to generals, to commanders, to military-advanced robots, to mechanized soldiers, to drones, and to so much more. Each level offers a fresh outburst of enemies that gives a wide sense of variety. Players can take a stealth approach or an all-out war approach, with both playstyles being accessible straight from the start.
During my review period, I decided to approach missions both ways, and they are both very satisfying ways of completing the game. There is a decent variety in enemy types which helps to make environments stand out from one another. Characters are all voiced, whether you are in a cut-scene or if you are out on the battlefield.
Nazi’s in the levels will communicate with each other, which made it easier to find them and dispose of them quickly. Each chapter has multiple alarm’s set up around the areas in which you will be fighting Nazi’s, taking these out will make it impossible for communication between soldiers to occur resulting in levels going by much quicker. Eliminating alarms means that backup cannot be called, leading to Nazi soldiers fighting for themselves.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus has a total of 11 story missions for players to complete. These eleven missions take roughly ten hours to complete depending on player skill. Each mission has a different length than the last, and each of them is connected yet feel very different.
The game has a way of not feeling repetitive, and the satisfaction of wiping out waves of soldiers is unmatched. Besides the main story missions, there are also an additional 16 Uberkommandant missions that you can unlock and complete, which add over twenty hours to the total playtime of the game. The game only takes up 21 gigabytes on the console, which is about half of the space that the other consoles require.
Back to the Switch version, not port, in particular, the game runs very well. After playing the game in handheld mode for the majority of my playthrough, I was very satisfied with just how well the game ran. For such a large game running on a platform like this, it is truly amazing to see what Panic Button was able to accomplish. Does it run perfectly? Well, not exactly. The biggest issue I faced was the blurry textures that were scattered throughout the game.
There is no denying that it is a very blurry game, especially when playing in handheld mode. This is not to say that this lessens the experience, but it is noticeable. Textures look slightly better when docked, but buildings and signs are especially blurry when playing in portable mode. But that’s the thing, this game can be played anywhere and at any time. There were even times where the game looked incredible, so it depends on the player’s location. The game does clear itself up at times, which eases the eye when playing through levels. By overlooking the graphical issues, I found this to be a fantastic Switch title. The soundtrack is decent at best, but everything sounds great on Switch. There was only one time where I began a level in which everything was mute, but a quick refresh brought the sound back.
While playing in docked mode, the game runs decent for what it is, but it isn’t necessarily comparable to the other versions of the game. Textures are hazy, character models are barely visible at times, and some text is unreadable for short periods of time. The game controls very well, but graphically it doesn’t quite hold up to other games on the platform. This is not to say that it is always blurry, but visuals look fuzzy the majority of the time. Some may feel discouraged to pick the game up due to the downgraded graphics and framerate, but everything moves so quickly that I never stood around and looked at every detail of the environment.
Cut-scenes, on the other hand, look very solid in docked mode. If the game looked as smooth as the cut-scenes, it would be so much easier to recommend. Looking at the technology behind the Switch, it’s clear to see why the game runs how it does. Quite frankly I was shocked at how good it looked, including the haziness. This game can be taken anywhere, which is why the visuals shouldn’t be bothersome to anyone. When playing in handheld mode, certain sections of the game appear blurry. However, as soon as the player jumps into the game and begins to move, visuals don’t appear to look too unbalanced. The game clears itself up after a few minutes, which made it much easier to see the surroundings.
When looking at the other versions of the game, it is easy to see which versions are superior. Graphically, the Switch version isn’t the prettiest game on the console. Other games are able to keep their crisp look, but Wolfenstein II is such a huge title that graphical shortcuts were absolutely necessary to get the game running on the console in the first place. Another issue that the game faces is that the in-game timer counts time played while the console is asleep. This allowed for me to rack up time at an insane rate, so players should make sure to save their content and shut down the system when finished.
Despite hardware limitations, Panic Button was still able to push out a solid and complete version of the game onto the Switch. The studio has become synonymous as of late with fantastic Switch titles, and Wolfenstein II is no different. When looking past the blurry textures, Wolfenstein II on the Switch was a joy to play through. The core game is very solid and there were never any ground-breaking bugs that caused the game to crash. Besides the blurriness, there is nothing to complain about.
Playing a huge game like Wolfenstein II on my coffee table while slashing Nazi’s with gyroscopic controls is an experience that I never expected to have on the console. The gyro controls work very well for what they are, and they seemed to work for the most part. It isn’t the ideal way of playing the game, but testing them out during a playthrough isn’t a bad idea. Gyro controls work very well with the game, and they added to the experience that I had.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is a fantastic game on its own, but when put onto the Switch, things feel so much better. Controls are fluid, gameplay is fantastic, and the structure of the levels work perfectly in handheld mode. There is a strong variety in everything that the game has to offer, and wiping out Nazi’s has never felt so satisfying. Having such a massive game like this on a console with underpowered technology is very impressive. The music selection is diverse, and character interactions feel natural and not forced. Dialogue and cut-scenes run very well, and each scene aids in telling a different part of Blazkowicz’s story.
The only downside to the game is the blurry textures scattered throughout either method of play, which can take away from the gameplay. Thankfully the game clears the haze and makes things easier to see, but the unclear textures are still noticeable at times. However, the movement is at such a quick pace that the textures were hardly even noticeable. If you are looking for a brand new and expansive adventure to enjoy anywhere, or if you are in the mood to take back America from the clutches of tyranny, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus on Nintendo Switch is the perfect title to satisfy your hunger.
THE VERDICT: 8/10
*Review Key Provided by Bethesda
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